Category Archives: Resources

Creating Nutritional Balance With Supplements

Each time I meet with any client for an initial nutrition session one of the questions I ask are what supplements they take and why.

While supplements need to all be individualized there are some general guidelines to follow. Please note I am not recommending every single person take these, but reviewing guidelines and specificities I have found in science and translating to practice with results.

Any woman of childbearing age can benefit from taking a multi-vitamin. There is one reason and this is folate and how significantly it relates to the development of the baby. Multi-vitamins have folate and women have a hard time getting it unless they take in foods higher in folate. Here is the Academy’s recommendation on Folate and B-vitamins. Over the years one of the best multi-vitamin products on the market has been Centrum. However, most supplements are made by only a handful of companies. Treat yourself to Centrum or buy the product next to it that is less expensive – saving money for a few other supplements listed below.

We have heard much ado about vitamin D for just under a decade. I have heard premier researchers speak on Vitamin D. When we get our labs checked our vitamin D 3 and vitamin D 2 may get valued. Normal for vitamin D3 is usually between 30-100 ng/ml and we are most interested in our vitamin D3 and keeping these levels normalized.

Anyone above latitude 42 may be at risk for vitamin D3 insufficiency! If a person’s vitamin D 3 level is above 30 but not much higher, generally I recommend 2000 IU a day of this supplement. If their levels are between 20-30 ng/ml, I recommend 5000 IU/day. I have seen clients and patients with levels as low as 6 ng/ml and for these folks we need a prescription level of vitamin D that often is about 50,000 units a week – all in one pill, though.
A lack of vitamin D can affect many pieces of our health and it is quite specific to our mood.

In my practice I see a lot of women with issues related to PMS and menopause. One of the best supplement helpers for bloating, hot flashes, and mood swings is B6. We don’t get enough B6 in a multivitamin or a B-complex to make a difference to these pieces in our body. I usually start with a 50 mg amount of B6 and if we see results we stop here. It is acceptable to go up to 200 mg a day of B6. Sometimes clients may get side effects like tingling in their fingers as a result of the higher dose but this comes right down again when the amount is decreased, as B6 is a water-soluble vitamin.

If you’ve seen me in practice or heard one of my talks on nutrition you know how I feel about probiotics. I LOVE them and if it were up to me they’d be in the water!

Probiotics help keep our gut healthy. There is so much amazing research on this topic. If our gut is healthy our whole bodies will follow suit – hair, nails, personality, weight – just everything. I recommend at least trying to eat yogurt or kefir every day but if this isn’t part of your daily routine, taking in a probiotic supplement of at least acidophilus will help.

Acidophilus tablets on their own are also the least expensive. If you want to get fancy I recommend clients choose a product like PB8 (blue top for regular and green top for vegan) or Align or Culturelle from the pharmacy or grocery. There is also another great company called UP4Probiotics.com where you can register and get a coupon then order your product delivered to your door. Remember the usual amount of a probiotic is 2 capsules.

Consumer Infographic[2]

Fish oil and omega 3 fatty acids are essential to our health and specifically to women in cognition, mood, and heart health. I have included several links here including a quiz to see if you need to supplement with this product.

This is my favorite omega 3 product that has been given a stamp of approval by several well known health experts. The amount per day is two. In a past newsletter I recommended chia seeds as a way to get in omega-3’s however it’s the longer chain EPA and DHA foods such as fatty fish or foods fortified with EPA and DHA like eggs and milk which give us the greater cardio-protective benefits. The graphic above illustrates the percentage of Americans possibly deficient in omega-3’s.

I do put preaching into practice and take 2000 IU of vitamin D3, PB8 (blue top) probiotics (2/day is a serving) and the omega 3 every day myself.
I am not planning on more children and my diet is healthy so I have taken the multivitamin out of my daily regime. For the first time ever my vitamin D was low this past year. I am attributing this to more snow than we’ve had over the past few years and moving to the suburbs – less walking around the city of Boston for a few minutes of winter sun every day to get my vitamin D.

This is only some of the information that I’ve gained over the years in my practice and I’m happy to share more. Next month we’ll cover supplements for men – just in time for Father’s Day. Email me with any questions or concerns you have around nutrition or supplements. I’m always happy to help.

Eggs and Cholesterol: What to believe and how we got here

eggs

In January I was invited to serve on the Health Advisors (HPA) Panel for the Egg Nutrition Center. ENC is the research arm of the American Egg Board. The aim of the ENC is to be a credible source of nutrition and health science information for health professionals. The HPA Panel is composed of registered dietitians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and personal trainers. I’m so excited to be on this panel for the year and have already learned so much.

Eggs have always been one of my favorite foods and one that I would define as one of nature’s most perfect foods.

For years, I have educated clients on the science that eating foods with cholesterol does not raise our blood cholesterol levels. Just recently with the new Advisory Report to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, it seems like this nutrition education message is finally being caught up with the science we’ve known to be true.

So what does this mean for you, the consumer? One of the biggest pieces of nutrition science to reach the American consumer about cholesterol this year with this report, is that limiting dietary cholesterol to no more than 300 mg a day hasn’t been able to show an appreciable relationship to serum cholesterol  – or our total blood cholesterol levels.

What consumers are hearing now is that cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern for over-consumption.

Why are eggs a great food? I always use extra-large eggs which contain 7 grams of protein per 80 kcals. As 40% of the US population does not meet the amount of protein foods recommended, eggs can help you get to this amount. Eggs do have saturated fat which you may have heard at this point is what we don’t want to eat a lot of in our diets. However, eggs have only 1.5 grams of saturated fat per egg. This is hardly enough to contribute in a negative context.

Eggs contain vitamin D. Most people above latitude 42 have depreciated levels of vitamin D.

While supplementing with vitamin D is necessary for a lot of people if they have a lower levels, eggs are a great food to keep this level up or get it back to normal levels.

We’ve been reading a lot on the topic of sustainability in regard to our food.  Eggs use considerable less land, irrigation and water, and produce less emissions as a food source compared to other protein source.

An egg a day is not too much! I eat at least 7 eggs a week as part of a way to get in protein and I just love the taste. Any which way you cook them – scrambled, hard- boiled, or in other foods. I especially enjoy eggs as part of salads or in a sandwich at lunch.

Eggs last, are inexpensive and are truly one of the most versatile natural foods we have access to in our daily diet.

If you celebrated Easter or Passover this month likely you saw many eggs. As eggs are considered ‘Parve’ in Jewish culture, they fit in most celebratory and sacred meals and have great meaning as a food in history.

I will leave you with this cute video on eggs titled Wake Up To Eggs With Bacon‘  (Remember all foods can fit and therefore bacon sometimes is just fine – and tasty!)